The cancellation of spring break in Florida was inevitable with the entire globe put on pause during the coronavirus pandemic.
Or so people thought.
Photos of Florida's crowded beaches were seen across the internet causing anger and disbelief. Allowing tens of thousands of college and high school aged students to ignore public health warnings from the CDC was labeled a cash grab.
The state's GOP governor was accused of putting a priority on tourism dollars over the lives of Floridians.
But on Thursday, Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis finally announced the "party's over" after getting slammed for keeping beaches, bars and other meeting spots open for days.
Florida's Governor finally cracking down stupid Spring Break partiers. #Coronavirus https://t.co/r6JcosfmDj— Raha (@Raha)1584629694.0
People were outraged over the amount of time it took for the Governor to announce his decision.
My question to @GovRonDeSantis is, what took you so long? Why did you go on @FoxNews to relay the message knowin… https://t.co/bnJjGV0Cul— Andruew James (@Andruew James)1584645433.0
@ColumbiaBugle @GovRonDeSantis Why did it take that long for this to happen!!!??— Susie Thompson (@Susie Thompson)1584645230.0
The Republican Governor told Fox & Friends:
"The message I think for spring breakers is that the party's over in Florida."
You can watch the interview in the clip, below.
Gov. DeSantis to Florida spring breakers: 'The party's over' youtu.be
"You're not going to be able to congregate on any beach in the state. Many of the hot spots that people like to go to, whether it's Miami beach, Fort Lauderdale and Clearwater Beach are closed entirely for the time being."
"We would tell those folks maybe come back next year when things are better, but that is not what we're looking for."
@Pfro @googlenews A modern-day Mayor Vaughn. https://t.co/3tXktFiZB7— George T. Probst 🦈 (@George T. Probst 🦈)1584636996.0
.@JoeNBC is correct, “It is time for @GovRonDeSantis to close the beaches.” The State of Florida is being stunnin… https://t.co/pr6z50q5cf— Gwen Graham (@Gwen Graham)1584625218.0
Footage of spring breakers cramming the beaches went viral despite everyone being told to adopt social distancing guidelines in an effort to contain the virus.
For Clearwater Beach, it was business as usual last week.
However, DeSantis claimed that any footage of the crowded beaches from Saturday were from before the CDC's guidance limiting the congregation of groups of 250 or more.
By Monday, that guidance was lowered to a restriction of groups with no more than ten people.
Clearwater Beach, Florida is PACKED today despite "social distancing" recommendations. We Americans sure can be a… https://t.co/2Ofznmoama— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@Rex Chapman🏇🏼)1584393225.0
Students are sent home and they take it to the beaches & bars in Fort Lauderdale Florida right now. Are they wise t… https://t.co/8YKiQmsosu— Alex Jungle (@Alex Jungle)1584275622.0
Everything might be canceled due to #CoronavirusPandemic concerns, but oh man, the beach is packed. @10NewsWTSP https://t.co/cbVuawGPJb— Liz Burch WTSP (@Liz Burch WTSP)1584204529.0
With many institutions shut down—including a nearly unprecedented closure of Walt Disney World in its nearly 50-year history—Chuck Smithson, who was visiting from Ohio, took his family to the beach after discovering Mickey had drawn up the castle's drawbridge indefinitely.
Before DeSantis made his announcement about closing the beaches, Smithson told 10News.
"We were supposed to go to Disney, actually, the day they closed it."
"I'm shocked the beaches aren't shut down. I mean we need something to do, other than sit inside, but I'm shocked the beaches aren't shut down."
Despite the social distancing directive, Smithson was among thousands of other vacationers and college students who refused to let any crisis put a damper on their hedonistic agendas.
One reveler said:
"If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna let it stop me from partying."
“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna let it stop me from partying”: Spring breakers… https://t.co/VmAReDLNLp— CBS News (@CBS News)1584562504.0
@GovRonDeSantis Shut the beaches down, you idiot! People are packing into large groups like sardines, sharing drink… https://t.co/5lztqIukpc— WW (@WW)1584643783.0
These youngsters fail to comprehend they are likely to spread the virus—despite their strong immune systems—to their grandparents or other people who are more susceptible to catching and dying from COVID-19.
@CBSNews On behalf of millennials, I am sorry for these people. (these are probably zoomers, though tbf)— Jessica Fletcher (@Jessica Fletcher)1584562807.0
DeSantis did say he would not close down every beach in the sunshine state to groups of less than 10 people, but mentioned that the ones remaining open will have to abide by the CDC's virus prevention guidelines.
"Regardless of local decisions, you're not going to be able to congregate like those images that you saw."
"That's just not something that we are going to allow and so you want to work constructively with the locals to get the best solutions."
Still, Florida's beachgoers are not panicked.
@LizBurchWTSP @10NewsWTSP 100% no one on Florida is panicked, or even remotely worried. My friends that live there… https://t.co/WRnlVQsOCs— Cathy P. Bathy (@Cathy P. Bathy)1584216346.0
@LizBurchWTSP @10NewsWTSP Its not about them getting the virus and not caring if they do its that they are spreadi… https://t.co/PnMQyT2pMl— Kathryn Ekker (@Kathryn Ekker)1584647714.0
@LizBurchWTSP @10NewsWTSP I. Think everyone needs to stay in Florida, why should they go home to spread their viruses.— Isobel Ebner (@Isobel Ebner)1584638445.0
Their lack of awareness incited condemnation from social media and politicians like the governor's predecessor and fellow Republican, Florida Senator Rick Scott.
He issued a stern order for the spring breakers turning a blind eye to the crisis.
"Get off the beach."
@GwenGraham @JoeNBC @GovRonDeSantis https://t.co/5sasI8vtuV— Daniel Uhlfelder (@Daniel Uhlfelder)1584630862.0
The former governor—who put himself in self-quarantine after meeting with a Brazilian government aide at Mar-a-Lago who tested positive for COVID-19—told CNN's John Berman on New Day:
"What are you thinking about by being on the beach around all these people that might have coronavirus and you're going to go home and potentially infect the people you love the most."
"What are you thinking? Stop doing it now!"
Some people think the beach closures were too late.
Please don’t tell me Clearwater doesn’t have a large number of Coronavirus patients, all of these spring breakers w… https://t.co/krmyTxGISn— Ayman Mohyeldin (@Ayman Mohyeldin)1584628514.0
@GwenGraham @KwikWarren @JoeNBC @GovRonDeSantis Imagine all the sick or infected that are now going to spread that… https://t.co/SLYNHjFnun— Leeza MG (@Leeza MG)1584629686.0
@GwenGraham @spastic5ive @JoeNBC @GovRonDeSantis If they get sick, will they be filling FL hospitals? https://t.co/g5aRxFwszg— ElectionFilter (@ElectionFilter)1584636651.0
@TODAYshow @KerryNBC And are those people getting on planes to go home? They are certainly not thinking about anyone but themselves!— Kathleen Monte (@Kathleen Monte)1584619320.0
For spring breakers lamenting their lost opportunity for frivolity, they will have to wait until next year.